UNESCO deplores separate killings of two Russian journalists

UNESCO deplores separate killings of two Russian journalists

UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura
The head of the United Nations agency mandated to defend freedom of the press and freedom of expression today condemned the separate murders of two Russian journalists over the past week, calling them “heinous crimes.”

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in a statement that he hoped that the killers of both Ilyas Shurpayev and Gadzhi Abashilov are found and brought to justice.

“Attacking journalists means attacking society as a whole, since journalists exercise a profession that is vital for informed democratic debate and responsible decision-making,” Mr. Matsuura said.

Mr. Shurpayev, a 32-year-old reporter for Russian state television’s Channel One who often worked in Dagestan and South Ossetia and Georgia’s secessionist region of Abhazia, was found in his Moscow apartment last Friday. He had been strangled and stabbed.

Mr. Abashilov, 58, the head of the state broadcasting company, was reported to have been shot dead in his car in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.